Salmonbellies ride WLA roller-coaster
The New Westminster Salmonbellies continued their roller-coaster 2012 Western Lacrosse Association season last week.
After their best win of the season last Thursday, the Salmonbellies fell 10-8 to the hometown Nanaimo Timbermen on Sunday. It was the first time the T-Men had beaten the ’Bellies in a regular-season clash. Nanaimo’s only victory over New West came in a 2007 playoff game at Queen’s Park Arena.
The Salmonbellies headed into their Thursday night clash with the Burnaby Lakers sporting a 4-4 record.
In Nanaimo, it seemed like they took the first period to get their sea legs going following their trip across the water, trailing 3-1. They seemed to right the ship in the second period, taking a 7-5 advantage into the third before allowing Nanaimo to score four consecutive goals.
Alex Gajic had two goals and two assists for the Salmonbellies while Martin Cummings had two goals and an assist. Kevin Crowley and Ilija Gajic also had three-point performances with a goal and two assists. Mike Berekoff and Jeff Zywicki had one of each.
“It’s tough to win against them and it’s a great job by everybody,” Nanaimo’s Cory Conway, who was in on every Timbermen goal scoring three of them and assisting on seven others, told Black Press. “It definitely feels good to win that one.”
The Salmonbellies had gotten back on the winning track in spectacular fashion by downing the previously undefeated Victoria Shamrocks 14-12 in overtime at Queen’s Park Arena last Thursday.
The win halted a three-game losing streak for New West, which began the season with a three-game winning streak. The result was also the first defeat for the Shamrocks, who went on to lose the next night in Burnaby.
New West took control early with a 5-3 lead after one period. But the Shamrocks opened the second with four consecutive goals. New West answered with three straight before the end of the second and two more to start the third.
But the 10-7 lead the Salmonbellies had at that point evaporated with the Shamrocks scoring three goals, including two on the powerplay, in a span of 3:16 with less than six minutes remaining in regulation.
Crowley scored twice in OT for the ’Bellies, one shorthanded and the other on the power play, but New West needed goals by Ilija Gajic and Curtis Hodgson in the final minute of OT to secure the win.
Gajic had a huge game, capping an eight-point performance, three goals and five assists, with the winner. Jordan McBride had two goals and three assists. Cummings and Hodgson also scored twice with singles going to Tyler Crompton, Sean Robinson and Zywicki.
Tyler Richards made 41 saves in the New West net as the Salmonbellies shaded the Shamrocks on the shot clock 53-52.
The ’Bellies travel to Victoria for a rematch tonight (Friday) and to Langley on Wednesday. Their next home game isn’t until July 5 against Maple Ridge.